Demodands (pronounced: /ˈdimoʊdændz/ DEE-mo-dændz), also known as gehreleths (pronounced: /ˈgɛrɛlɛθ/ GEH-rel-eth) or nicknamed leths, were said to have been fashioned by one of the baernoloths. They were the primal creations of evil and implacable forces of destruction, exiled to Carceri for their chaotic taint and the self-appointed wardens of their fellow prisoners within the Tarterian Depths.
Demodands had three forms, although other subraces were said to exist, each so hideous that even other denizens of the Lower Planes found gehreleths grotesque. All demodands had corpse-like characteristics, from their loosely hanging skin to the putrid miasma coming off their disgusting forms. As they rose in rank they simultaneously grew heavier.
Demodands were largely driven by an instinctual urge to bring ruin onto others, a desire that manifested in more sophisticated ways depending on their rank. Rather than create anything, gehreleths destroyed the societies of others, either through direct attacks or subtle corruption. Ruthlessly selfish and wickedly cunning, the mind of a gehreleth was a confusing combination of unfathomable loyalty, intense xenophobia and enigmatic loathing.
They often roamed Carceri searching for new victims, expressing their unbridled hatred for all other entities through random acts of mayhem. Their refusal to properly participate in the Blood War, primal grudge against the yugoloths, and unconcealed contempt for all non-gehreleths made them hated in turn throughout the entire multiverse.
Unlike most other fiends, they were mostly uninterested in the subjugation or manipulation of mortals in wicked schemes, preferring instead to sadistically torment them through menace, taunts, and acts of brutality. They were stubborn beings that granted no willing service to those that summoned them, hated any form of servitude and could spend years plotting revenge against a summoner.
Demodands thought of themselves as the jailors and wardens of the entire population of Carceri, forcing all others on the plane into their twisted sense of order. Like most convicts of the Tarterian Depths, they scorned those capable of passing through the plane as desired but also saw it as their duty to keep petitioners bound there, making no distinction between travelers and prisoners.
Gehreleths were fewer in number than other fiendish races but even the members of their lowest caste were comparable to high-ranking entities from other parts of the Lower Planes. They naturally were under the effect of freedom of movement at all times, could not be harmed using acid or poison, and could summon other demodands to their aid. They also shared common spell-like abilities, including detect magic, detect invisibility, invisibility, fear and tongues at will, as well as fog cloud, ray of enfeeblement and dispel magic several times per day. Fear was an alien concept to the demodands and were incapable of having it magically imposed upon them or being tricked using illusions.
The lower castes could dissolve themselves into the types of ooze they normally secreted. Liquefication in such a way was an agonizing process that took several minutes to complete and the liquid state could be held for centuries. Reforming could take as little as a couple of seconds or even longer than the original dissolution depending on outside circumstances.
Contrary to popular belief, gehreleths had a form of government, albeit an extremely simplistic and yet bizarre one. They largely lacked an economic system, exchanging nothing of material or cultural value. The fact that they could be and often were easily replaced also diminished any sense of individual identity among their ranks. Rather than industry, wealth, or charisma, gehreleth society was based purely on strength, and dominion belonged to those powerful enough to demand it.
Confusingly however, gehreleths never engaged in the infighting normally present among most of the fiendish races, never attacking or endangering one another and reserving their hateful attacks for other creatures. The reason for this was widely speculated, with theories ranging from instinct, a kind of interspecies empathy, or simply the mandates of Apomps. Although they never engaged in physical combat, all demodands were in competition with one another to gain power, whether magical or mundane. The two lower castes would not attempt to engineer the elimination of their superiors, but such an event would be considered fortuitous.
Their societal structure, despite their chaotic leanings, was a feudal hierarchy divided into a lower, middle and upper class. The farastus were commoners, menial laborers, soldiers and servants called upon to deal with unpleasant tasks or do battle for the higher ranks. The kelubars were bureaucrats and supervisors responsible for overseeing farastu forces and acting as intermediaries between the higher and lower castes. The shator were barons, scribes, nobles and commanders that directed the demodands and schemed to increase their influence. Stranger still, despite their clearly defined ranking system, demodands rarely gathered together in groups.
While farastus were occasionally sold and traded between sides as mercenaries, gehreleths had few dealings with other fiends and barely contributed to the Blood War due to their low numbers. Trapped not only in one of the most inhospitable planes in the multiverse, but one frequently in the crossfire of the Blood War, the demodands fought only to defend themselves against the demons and devils. The exception to their neutrality was when dealing with the yugoloths, one of the few races in the multiverse they would leave Carceri to harass. Whether through raiding Gehenna or trying to focus the attention of mortals on the daemons, gehreleths constantly strove to undermine and destroy the yugoloths.
Because ensuring that mortals never escaped Carceri was practically impossible, they could also be found hunting down escaped petitioners on other planes. Although able to leave Carceri for a short time they inevitably returned to the Tarterian Depths. When subjugated by summoners it was often to serve as executioners or guardians.
Demodands were the followers and supposed creations of the enigmatic, Three-Sided Father known as Apomps. Apomps was said to be the reason for all of the demodands behavior and abilities, from their hatred of the daemons to their never-ending numbers. It was also rumored that despite paying tribute to Apomps, the baernaloth wasn't actually a deity because his creations didn't truly worship him.
At the time of their creation, Apomps bestowed each farastu an obsidian triangle, objects that among their many purposes, served to give gehreleths access to their racial, collective memory. With their triangles, gehreleths could learn the identity of summoners and create generation-spanning schemes, as well as gather general knowledge about the universe. Because of this, killing a gehreleth was useless and the existence of such magical items further denigrated the idea of individuality in their society.
The obsidian triangles were said to have other abilities, such as occasionally empowering demodands and allow them to harm beings typically resistant to non-magical attacks. As a last resort they could reportedly allow a gehreleth audience with Apomps himself, either by bringing one to the other or through a spiritual state. Doing so was risky however, as the expendable nature of every gehreleth was as clear to Apomps as it was to the desperate demodands. Most fearsome of their suspected abilities, was the idea that the triangles gave Apomps access to every gehreleth's senses and experiences, allowing him to exist wherever his creations were. Both Apomps and the shators were said to command their inferiors through the triangles, but whether or not they whispered advice or actually took control of the demodands in question, or even if it was done at all, was unknown.
Because of their alleged myriad of powers, several scholars and researchers sought to obtain the secrets of the triangles, encouraged by the eons of knowledge that they might hide. Killing a gehreleth was thought to cause a triangle to lose its magical properties, making it worthless outside of being a trinket. Similarly the gehreleths greedily hoarded the triangles and did everything in their power to retrieve a stolen triangle, possibly because it limited Apomps sight when not in the hands of a demodands or because it was truly possible to unveil the secrets of the race with them.
Despite being voracious carnivores, gehreleths presumably had no actual need for food and could not starve. While some posited that this was to permanently destroy their enemies others theorized it was simply a hobby.
Farastus and kelubars were believed to rest when liquefied and shators were sedentary beings that occasionally rested to gather their thoughts. It was unknown if gehreleths ever truly slept or if relaxation was the closest they could ever reach.
Like their yugoloth counterparts, gehreleth reproduction had nothing to do with petitioners, but neither did it involve the gehreleths themselves. While some demodands were known to self-identify as certain genders they lacked actual sexes. They were incapable of mating whether for pleasure or simply to create more of themselves, and seemed to lack any desire to create life. Instead, the death of one demodand caused a corpse on Carceri to reshape itself into the form of a farastu. Farastus were simply replaced by another of their number, but when a kelubar or shator perished, the most convenient member of the caste below them was transformed to fill the vacant position. Befitting beings of chaos, advancement was based not on merit or lessons, but simply by chance. Farastus and kelubars believed the process was just a natural part of the universe, but some thought that Apomps, or possibly another entity, personally controlled the process.
Because they often went out of their way to trouble the other denizens of Carceri, demodands felt like an omnipresent threat. In truth, the number of gehreleths was minuscule compared not only to other fiends but practically all other races in the multiverse, capping at 9,999, 10,000 if counting Apomps. Their numbers never raised nor lowered since they were incapable of reproduction and the moment one died another took its place. Strangely for beings of chaos, there were normally 3,333 members of each gehreleth caste. Explanations for this symmetry included the idea that Apomps couldn't afford to breathe more life into his creations while others argued it was a pure example of the multiversal Rule of Threes.
When the Blood War raged however, the gehreleth numbers swiftly doubled with supernatural speed, although not in a single day. Some claimed this was Apomps pushing himself to his limits while others posited that the extra gehreleths were always present. Once the fighting ended however, the number of demondands inevitably dwindled back to 3,333, partially due to the presence of raiders and possibly due to Apomps reabsorbing his life force.
While doing so was ultimately futile, killing a gehreleth was not only possible but easier than killing other fiends. They possessed less resistances than other types of fiends and once slain the demodands in question remained killed regardless of where, how and to what caste it was. The spirits of those turned into farastus were said to undergo the normal process for petitioners while Apomps filled the corpses with nebulously obtained spirits of his own. As for what happened to the spirit of a deceased demodands, the shator theorized that they might merge with Apomps once dead like petitioners, but had no idea if such a system would also be a matter of random chance or even if it actually existed.
While the veracity of the claim was disputed, demodands were said to be the most common result of a non-specific, fiendish summoning, although they could be intentionally called using their true name. Why they would be the summoning stock of the Lower Planes despite their anti-social behavior and low numbers was thought to be a result of other fiends deflecting summoning spells onto them.
Rumors and Legends
There were numerous legends and claims about how the demodands came into existence, with many purporting them to be at least as old as the other fiendish races. It was rumored that an information broker from the Upper Planes had discovered a tattered tome bound in the skin of a kelubar, claiming that the gehreleths were the most beauteous nobles of Elysium before being disfigured and banished by envious archons and asuras. A powerful shator had once purported that gehreleths originally ruled all the Lower Planes before being locked within Carceri by fearful gods of evil, a tale supported by the research of one supposed Arcadian researcher. She had apparently kept a soul larvae locked within Gehenna and watched it develop into a farastu without outside interference.
The legends that best explained the various details of the gehreleth race however, involved their patron deity Apomps. In the primary version of the legend Apomps was one among many baernaloths, but while the rest of his kind debated over the forms their creations would take, Apomps molded the Lower Planes into three different forms and breathed life into the models. After naming his collective creations gehreleths, he presented them to the baernaloth council, receiving shame and spite instead of the intended acclaim.
His bid for status had failed as the gehreleths were corrupted by chaos, atrocities in the eyes of those that valued pure evil. After fleeing the council with his creations, Apomps sanity diminished in proportion to his growing desire for retribution, eventually settling in Carceri. Vowing to avenge himself on the haughty council that brought him to his humiliating low, and by extension their new creations the yugoloths, Apomps created new demodands out of Carceri's native beasts to replace the ones lost during the migration. He channeled his power into them and in turn transmitted their perceptions upon himself before granting them their iconic obsidian triangles to give them history and extra power.
In an alternate version of the story the gehreleths were a failed mimicry of the yugoloths, made by Apomps from yugoloth corpses. In an attempt to create his own completely loyal race of beings, Apomps accidently disfigured himself before showing off his creations to the yugoloth council. From there, the result was essentially the same, with Apomps fleeing to Carceri and swearing bitter vengeance against the baernaloths and yugoloths.
While the veracity of both legends was debatable, they offered an explanation convenient enough that most considered it valid conjecture. As far as the demodands were aware, they were exiled to Carceri as punishment for an ancient crime, one that the kelubars and shator blamed on the farastu. Once there, they established their own twisted form of order and developed their rigid hierarchy.
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